"The abuse begins when the cubs are prematurely and forcibly separated from their adult mothers — usually during or immediately after birth — depriving them of normal biological and behavioral development," Lisa Wathne, captive wildlife specialist at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), previously explained to The Dodo. "Rather than experiencing the warmth of their mother and interacting with their siblings, the cubs' lives are dictated by the demands of the paying public."
There are an estimated 5,000 captive tigers in America, a 2014 report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found, while just over 3,000 tigers exist in the wild worldwide. Since then, people have been pushing for tighter regulations on keeping captive tigers, but there's still a long way to go. And public awareness still lags: People need to see tiger cubs not as pets or props for selfies, but as fascinating creatures who are in danger because of habitat loss and hunting.